One of the first times I picked up Betty Magazine was in Harvey Nichols during a family lunch on the 5th floor cafe (we’re not always this flash, I promise) and I remember showing it to my Aunt with the words ‘Look at how beautiful it is- JUST LOOK’ and instantly wanting to show everyone I knew – pure unadulterated excitement at it’s finest, and I certainly didn’t have my rose tinted glasses on.
Betty is the the kind of magazine you feel proud to have peeping out of your satchel, the kind of mag you would want the person next to you on the tube to look at (yup, this is what I’m reading) and certainly the kind of magazine that doesn’t look out of place amongst your favourite novels on your bookshelf (or arranged nicely next to your bed, if you’re that way inclined) and certainly one you’d never want to tear a page from (just add some post-it’s to document the inspiration , if you’re nerdy like Liv). So, when I met up with Betty Ed Charlotte I felt a little bit fan girly (as I definitely heard whilst transcribing the interview) and completely in awe of everything she’s achieved to date. Betty has firmly become one of my favourite bi-annual treats and something I go back to time and time again post first read, so was excited to hear about everything from the inspiration behind it- to what the perfect Betty Sunday looks like…
So! Tell us a little about yourself…
I’m Charlotte. I’m 27 and the editor of Betty magazine. I studied Fashion Promotion at UCA in Rochester and graduated with a first four years ago. I’ve recently left my job to go freelance- and I lecture for two days and do Betty with the other Charlotte (Melling, Creative Director of Betty) for the rest of the week.
Was it always an ambition to begin a magazine like Betty?
It’s something that’s definitely evolved. It was started with me and a friend as our final major project at university, and that got quite a good response with sites like Style Bubble and at London Fashion Week- but then nothing happened for about a year after. So I started blogging again, and Lauren Laverne picked it up and featured us on her radio show and then in the Observer and Grazia – which is how I met Charlotte. She did a shoot for me for the second issue which was online, and afterwards she said ‘Let’s get this bad boy into print!’- and the rest is history.
What kind of magazines do you like to read?
I like to read The Gentlewoman, Little White Lies…
They’ve all got that really collectable vibe- the kind of thing you could never throw away…
Well that was the inspiration behind the magazine! When me and Charlotte met and did it all, we looked at things like Good Housekeeping- because whenever you go in the doctors or dentist surgery you always pick one up and will always get something from it. I also collect a lot of vintage magazines, and at university there was a whole room of just vintage magazines- so I’ve always subtly been into them.
What’s your favourite thing about editing Betty?
That is definitely meeting some amazing people. We have a couple of boys that work on Betty and they’re fantastic, but just meeting so many amazing creatives, most of which are female- that feels really empowering. The fact that there’s some really talented women doing things for themselves is so exciting, especially when we have a Betty party or contributors drinks you get so inspired by them. Plus, the great thing about the internet is you can connect and meet with so many amazing people- I feel lucky where we’re in an age where as women we can go out there and do whatever we want.
What inspires the new features for Betty?
Everything really. I have an ongoing mental list, even things from about three years ago, that I still haven’t been able to fit in the magazine- it’s just whether it comes up at the right time. We spend a lot of time out and about exploring, and as I’m surrounded by so many creative women you hear; ‘Have you heard of so and so? You should meet them!’ It’s strange how it comes together.
When you start an issue you have all these ideas but then only some of them come to fruition. I get inspired a lot by the past, Barbara Hulanicki from Biba is my absolute idol. But generally me and Charlotte will say ‘Oh I really like this… let’s go and speak to this person!’ As we’re not working for a publisher, we’re not ruled but everything and we can go and meet all the interesting people we want to meet.
What’s been your proudest achievement to date?
Every issue feels like our baby, I think getting in Selfridges was really exciting- and we’ve been in there for three issues now, and we’re now stocked in McNally Jackson in New York. I also think when our first order went to Japan, as the Japanese were the first to stock it- that was exciting.
So, what inspires your style?
I don’t want to sound repetitive but a lot of it is the past. Charlotte and I are going through a bit of a seventies phase at the moment- as you can see from one of the shoots (in Betty’s Winter 2013 issue). So, we went to see Fleetwood Mac which we’ve always been fans of, but then you properly start delving in to the whole seventies thing. Again, looking through old magazines and seeing the shoots they did then, icons of the past, and our favourite designers. We’re obsessed with Dolce & Gabanna and designers like Valentino, which I adore. We spent a lot of time looking at Stevie Nicks this issue, and the usual; Francoise Hardy and Barbara Hulanicki (we’ve used a lot of vintage Biba in this issue).
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to do what you’re doing?
It’s quite tricky. One of my tutors at uni (Piers Atkinson) said ‘work in the industry’, you need to go and learn the industry that you’re going into which was some of the best advice, and that’s why I’ve stuck out full time work for so long in the business side- as it’s been a great place to learn; from in house designers to brands- just get work experience and learn as much as you can. But at the same time, just do it and don’t worry- don’t think ‘Oh god, what if it’s not right!’ Our first issue was so different to how it is now, but the best thing is to make mistakes as you go and don’t be afraid of that- if you’re constantly trying to refine something and make it the perfect thing before it’s released into the world, then it’s never going to happen- and you’ll never make those mistakes again.
So, what does the ideal Sunday look like for you?
A hangover free lie in and brunch- I’m obsessed with brunch- it’s the best thing ever! I love going to Columbia Road Flower Market, and going to vintage markets but generally I like a lounge as I don’t get to lounge around very often- so just have dinner with friends and enjoy it!
Charlotte has also been kind enough to send you guys a little list of some of her favourite places to spend a Sunday in London- get listing!
If you have something to celebrate- Bob Bob Ricard, St James’ Street
For a perfect Sunday brunch- Bistrotheque- Cambridge Fields
Casual drinks with a good soundtrack- The Commercial Tavern, Shoreditch
For a late night coffee- The Bridge, Shoreditch
A cocktail with the girls- Ruby’s, Dalston
Afternoon tea- Cocomaya, 12 Connaught St
Super cute stationary- Present & Correct, 23 Arlington Way, EC1R 1UY
Gifts for friends- Liberty, Regent Street
Best place for nails- Hula Nails, 203-205 Whitecross St
Favourite Cinema- Screen on the Green, Islington
Vintage shopping- Always love going to Beyond Retro for a rummage, you never know what you’ll find.
Favourite Museum- V&A (obvious, but never fails to deliver!), also like Fashion & Textile Museum, Bermondsey
Best place to spend a Sunday- Columbia Road Flower Market, stopping by Lily Vanilli’s bakery (go early!)
Red Herring….I’m obsessed with all things Mexican, my favourite shop is Milagros on Columbia Road which imports beautiful things from Mexico.
You can pick up Betty Magazine here